My Hoop House Greenhouse
it’s just like Christmas!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

I am literally beside myself with joy to see my very own hoop house greenhouse in my backyard! This is officially my new favorite place to be!

Day 2 arrived, and up went more poly.

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

Covering the sides and ceiling made the inside space so much warmer within such a short time!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

And I can’t forget one of my most favorite parts … the roll-up side that I can do all by myself!

When I was younger and worked in greenhouses, some were very technologically advanced and others …. not so much. And it would take 2-3 people to roll up and clamp one side of the poly.

But in MY greenhouse I can do it all by myself! Dave Tidwell, from Eden Greenhouses, configured my roll-up side with a T-handle that gives me flexibility to roll it up as far as I want. All by myself!

I can roll it up a quarter, halfway, … whatever I need and it locks in place!

This is just how Christmas morning feels to me ….. but BETTER!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

Then they built me a raised bed on the South Side.

We oriented my greenhouse this way – so it gets the most sun exposure possible!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

Here you can see the finished raised bed and roll-up side down.

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

And, roll-up side up!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

Ahhhh …. It really is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

Now I just have to prepare the ground in the hoop house and move my seedlings that I started under lights in the basement up and out into the greenhouse!

I really am so excited!

Warmly,
Kelly
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My Greenhouse is Happening!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

It is finally happening. 

I don’t think my brain or my heart can keep up with my excitement!

My very own Hoop House Greenhouse that I picked out!

So, this is how is began ….

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

I am still so excited that I want to jump right into sharing with you how my be-u-tiful greenhouse was built. But  in actuality my search began over a year ago.

Well …. if I’m honest it began years ago. I’ve been looking at hoop house kits and greenhouses since I was still in school and had no hope of affording such wonderfulness.

As you may know (if you’ve been following) I used to work in a nursery as a teenager and would fantasize about how all that lovely growing space under glass would be mine.

IandGfarms

Delusional.   I know.

And since my husband and I have finally settled into our final home (I swear the only way I’m going out is in a box) I’ve been scouring the internet and getting quotes for various sized and styled greenhouses.

And even though I knew that 20 foot by 96 foot hoop house would not pass the “CJ test” (my husband who usually goes along with my outlandish and fabulous garden plans), I would get estimates.

Then I got real.

Because CJ got real. And was like,”How much space do you really need?”

I mean, how much space do I actually need? …. to grow EVERYTHING I want?

But then I realized that I’ll always say more space, so I figured I would look at our property and find something that would fit in to scale, look beautiful, and be functional. So I agreed to a length of 16 feet and went shopping …. on the internet.

And just as I was ready to purchase my very own hoop house from a midwestern company, my buddy Clark showed me his greenhouse that got built locally and I was like “THAT’S IT! Who made that?”

And he sent me to David Tidwell of Eden House Greenhouses out of New Gloucester, Maine. And after speaking with him, and Dave patiently answering my questions, I knew I had found the Hoop House of my dreams!

 After an initial consultation where Dave and his wife personally came out to check out my site, Day 1 of building my Hoop House commenced!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

Dave and his crew began by building, anchoring and leveling the base.

Then began installing the hoops.

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

And then exciting new things like end walls and doors appeared!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

And the aluminum shutters went in!

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

And by the end of Day one the frame was built and end walls were complete.

Building a Hoop House Greenhouse - by Eden House Greenhouses | Kelly Ash Photography

But as you may know there is more to come … and I’ll share Day 2, the completion, of my greenhouse on Wednesday! There are lots of exciting things I’ve added to the hoop house to make it the PERFECT greenhouse!

Warmly,
Kelly
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How to Grow Strawberry Begonias

How to Grow Strawberry Begonias | Kelly Ash Photography

It can be confusing to some people who are not familiar with Strawberry Begonias, but Saxifraga stolonifera is neither a strawberry plant or a begonia – although is is one of my favorite plants to keep in and out of the house!

Strawberry begonias have the same beautiful, variegated, hairy leaves and bright red stems that traditional begonias are famous for, and they spread just as rapidly as you would expect yourstrawberries.

Growing Strawberry Begonias | Kelly Ash Photography

Growing strawberry begonias is so easy, they like:

• Bright, indirection light. Be careful they do not get too hot – they are not fans of the heat!

• Light, well-draining potting soil is great. Whatever you typically get at your local garden center will work well

• Lots of Water! They like water and will grow fast! If kept in containers they will slow down over winter and it is okay to lighten up on the watering. I often water them 1-2 times a week during the cold months.

• I rarely fertilize, but when I do I use a weaken (watered down) liquid fertilizer. I usually use the same fertilizwe a I do for my african violets and they seem to enjoy it.

Propagating and Growing Strawberry Begonias | Kelly Ash Photography

Another reason I love these little guys is that they are super easy to propagate!

They propagate easiest from these long, red, pinkish runners that grow from the base of the plant.

Propagating and Growing Strawberry Begonias | Kelly Ash Photography

These runners form these little clumps of hairy leaves that trail out of the plant. I think they look pretty and sometimes leave them cascading out of a pot or hanging basket.

But if I want to make more plants (and give to friends as little gifts) I just snip off the clump of leaves and plop them in a new pot with moist potting soil. Give it light and regular water and they’ll soon take off just like their mama!

Propagating and Growing Strawberry Begonias | Kelly Ash Photography

A few tips for growing strawberry begonias are:

• Be careful and water plant at the base. Often if the leaves get wet, the hair traps it there leading to fungal problems (yucky!).

• Repot it regularly in the spring. This is a quick growing plant and its root like to spread out. If you fail to give it enough room it can become rootbound and start looking sickly or leggy.

Growing Strawberry Begonias | Kelly Ash Photography

So just remember to repot them and propagate them and you’ll have an everlasting supply. All you ever need to buy is one plant and you’ll have enough strawberry begonias t for life!

Warmly,
Kelly
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Snowdrops

Growing Snowdrops | Kelly Ash Photography

I love growing snowdrops, or as you connoisseurs know them, Galanthus. I’ve always seen them, but never really started growing them until I read an article in my British Country Living Magazine (I adore everything about British life – except the gray skies) a few years ago and became a life long fan.

Growing Snowdrops | Kelly Ash Photography

As a huge admirer of white flowers and gardens I find they look especially pretty in a woodland garden. With their tiny delicate white (and sometimes green) flower heads dangling so elegantly, I just can’t get enough of them.

And although I don’t like to disturb them (because they are so pretty) I must force myself to remember to “lift and split” them every three years. These tight clump-forming bulbs need to be divided or else I’ve found they are not so happy in the garden.

And I want them to be happy!

How to Growing Snowdrops | Kelly Ash Photography

While I do find their general fragrance sweet, my sense of smell is not highly defined, so I am no expert on the various snowdrop scents. There are some with almond and floral smells that I’ve heard are amazing, but they would be utterly lost on a person like me.

And although I’m usually attracted to unique colors and marking on flowers … I’m a simple girl and like my snowdrops white with a touch of green!

Warmly,
Kelly
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My Garden Cure for Cabin Fever

Growing Nasturitums | Kelly Ash Photography

I think I sound like a broken record, but I am so tired of the cold and the snow, but I think I finally figured out the cure for my cabin fever –  get gardening!

Finally it is time to be sowing seeds and growing plants!

Growing Seedlings | Kelly Ash Photography

Another garden task I’ve been working on (because it certainly is not a favorite job) is cleaning pots. I try not to be a procrastinator, but there are a few jobs that I put off until I can’t put them off any longer. I will use every pot I own before I start washing and sterilizing them.

Clay Pots | Kelly Ash Photography

So while I sit here battling my angst against the snow, I know it is finally time to get ready to garden!

 

Warmly,
Kelly
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The Birds are a Singing …

Birdhouse in a tree | Kelly Ash Photography

The snow is melting and the air is warmer and now I have all the windows open – and guess what I hear?

… Birds!

Yes they are back, and they are a singing up a storm outside my bedroom window! The previous owners had a few small birdhouses but over the past year they’ve all fallen down, so I am determined to put some new ones up this year.

And I’m confused about what kind to go with. I love the simplicity of the small cedar boxes (like the birdhouse above), but I cannot help but stare longingly at this elegant birdhouse …

White Birdhouse | Kelly Ash Photography

Birds are good for the garden for many reasons. Not only are they lively, nice to look at and sing sweet melodies, but they are great pollinators too. They help the plants flower by spreading pollen and get seeds ready to grow by eating them and spreading them throughout the garden.

Birdhouse | Kelly Ash Photography

And while I want to encourage all sorts of pollinators in my garden including birds, butterflies and bees I draw the line at raising bees and honey. I get nervous just thinking about getting close to the hive. No thank you! But I’m happy to taste any homemade honey.

Warmly,
Kelly
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Potager Herb Plans …

Rosemary For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

There are some things in my kitchen garden, or potager,  that I simply cannot do without … and they would be Herbs. It’s easy to forget these tasty goodies when thinking about my tomatoes, cukes, onions, leeks and potatoes, but the herbs are what adds spice to my kitchen!

The first herb on mine and every cook or gardener’s mind is basil. I cannot live without basil – especially in the summer. I sow basil seeds about every 2 weeks from spring to late summer because I can use up an entire plant quite quickly. I add it to my salads, sauces and even my watermelon margarita!

Basil For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

And while on the topic of sauces … Oregano. It makes me think of Italy (even though I haven’t been yet) and being saucy and spicy. I love the way it smells when I run my fingers though it after a rain.

Oreganol For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

I grow dill for a few reasons, one being I like it in salads and dressings. Two, I use them in my pickling brine. And three …. well, the look just as pretty as they taste! The umbel flowers look so elegant towering at the edge of the garden.

Dill For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

Parsley. It is sooo much more than a garnish! It is used to enhance the flavors of other herbs and foods when cooking. It just gives a little extra boost to any dish – just don’t overcook it. I add it near the end of cooking. And while it can be a bit difficult to propagate from seed, I find if I give it consistent bottom heat they germinate quicker! But if you are not up to the challenge just pick some up from your local nursery.

Since I use so much and I worry about over picking, I keep 5-6 plants in the garden at all times.

Parsley For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

And garlic. Oh garlic! I love this! I cannot have enough! I use it in so many things. I especially enjoy smearing roasted garlic cloves on a sliced baguette …. yuummmmm!

But I do have to wait until fall to sow these bulbs. But it’s good to keep it in mind and in the garden plan.

Garlic For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

Thyme is another favorite (can you see a pattern yet?) herb to grow. I like growing it in a pot on the kitchen windowsill, in the ground in the garden, or in a path in the yard. It is a tough little plant that when you walk across (I like to go barefoot) after a rain it smells simply divine!

And it doesn’t hurt that I use it to season my grilled meats and soups.

Thyme For The Kitchen Garden | Kelly Ash Photography

Then there’s rosemary (pictured at the top), grown as much for its lovely foliage as for it’s taste. I like to use a rosemary stem as my skewer when making kabobs for the grill in the summer. Just thinking about it makes me hungry …

I could go on talking (or typing) about my kitchen herbs a while longer, but I think I’ll save those for another post!

Warmly,
Kelly
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